Say you had a live video stream of a popular boardwalk that had thousands of pedestrians walk down it each day. Could software be written to count the number of people that walk by a camera and collect data on things like how many of them were wearing red clothing or how many were over 6' tall?

I'm thinking the software would be a layer between the camera and the people. But I have no idea if that is even possible. If something like this already exists, I wasn't able to find it but please share if it does.


  • Yes, its quite possible. With sufficiently powerful hardware, you can even do face recognition on everyone one of those people. Height may be a bit more difficult, but probably doable if you calibrate things correctly.
    – user40980
    Aug 13, 2013 at 21:00
  • My opinion is that it is possible. Processor speed would dictate how much you could do with the image. Surprisingly enough, even smartphones can do this sort of general processing with their built-in cameras (not measuring height, but perhaps finding an album's information by looking at its art)
    – Katana314
    Aug 13, 2013 at 21:02
  • If nothing else, consider procrastineering.blogspot.com/2010/12/… which shows a simple system processing the data feed for guitar hero and doing stuff (playing the game) with the data.
    – user40980
    Aug 13, 2013 at 21:05
  • 1
    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about a hypothetical pondering and not about a specific programming concept or design issue. It lacks sufficient, demonstrated research in order to scope the realm of the question to make it answerable in a meaningful way.
    – user53019
    Aug 14, 2013 at 11:26

2 Answers 2


It is possible and it has been already done decades ago. Currently only challenge is to streamline it sufficiently to be run on mobile devices.




Currently that kind of result can be achieved with off-the-shelf open source libraries such as OpenCV.

In fact there is webinar related to that very topic tomorrow. "Beyond Real-time Video Surveillance Analytics with GPUs"


Absolutely this is possible.

MathWorks has a Matlab toolbox for doing the basics of recognizing people.

Noticing red clothing or height over 6'0" will require you to do some more work.

What's amazing to me is that this kind of thing can be done on a good PC these days.

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